Jackie Bradley Jr. Hitting Well in Pawtucket

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Although it is only seven games into the season, something seems a little bit different about PawSox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. this season— he is hitting well.
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Starting off this season in the Minors for the first time since 2012, the outfielder is swinging a hot bat, regardless of the sample size. To date, he has 35 at-bats on the year and has collected 13 hits (.371 average) with four doubles and a jackie bradley jr.walk. He leads the team in total bases with 17.

Sure, this is based off of a small sampling, but any signs of life from Bradley at the plate could pay off in a huge manner for the Red Sox this season. Defensively, he probably should have won the Gold Glove last year, but at the plate he had quite the slump in the summer months.
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With Rusney Castillo day to day, the right-handed Bradley—who hits lefty—could find himself with a huge advantage granted that the only thing Castillo has yet to do is play on an every day basis. If Bradley is able to keep stringing hits together like his early scouting reports indicated, he could leave the Boston Red Sox with some tough decisions to make.

The Red Sox will need to see more than eight games from Bradley before they call him up given that he is a lifetime .196 hitter in 164 big league games. If he continues to do what he is doing, or close to it for a month or so, and Castillo cannot keep up, then Bradley might just force his way up to Boston.
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Of course injuries could help Bradley’s case as a call-up as well, but it seems unlikely that they will call him up to do anything less than play on an everyday basis. After all, he still has a few more days before he turns 25.

Jackie Bradley Jr. snubbed of Gold Glove Award

jackie bradley jrThe hitting bias continues when it comes to voting for the Gold Glove Award and it is a shame.
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Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia won his fourth career Gold Glove, which is all well and good, but the bad outweighs the good. Jackie Bradley Jr. was snubbed of the award as Adam Jones won it for the center field spot.

Pedroia joins Dwight Evans (eight), Carl Yastrzemski (seven) and Fred Lynn (four) as four-time Red Sox Gold Glove winners, but it seems Jackie Bradley Jr., who was the best defensive center fielder in the game, was denied a Gold Glove.

Playing 113 games in center field, Jackie Bradley Jr. made 105 starts and committed just one error on the season while turning eight double plays and recording 13 assists. To put it this way, Bradley made two more assists and turned five more double plays than any other center fielder in the game.

Had Bradley hit better than he did (.198 in 127 games), he would have had a much better shot for two reasons. First of all there is a bit of an offensive bias when it comes to the Gold Glove Award and also had Bradley hit better, he would have been in the Red Sox lineup more often than he was. Had Bradley been a .250 hitter, he would not have been sent down to Pawtucket in August and would have turned even more double plays and recorded more assists than he did.

In contrast, although Adam Jones was an above-average center fielder he does not seem deserving of the award. He did play 155 games in center field, but committed six errors on the year. Sure his seven assists and three double plays are impressive, but hitting .281 with nearly 30 home runs did not exactly work against Jones here.

If numbers alone are not enough to warrant a Gold Glove Award, then check out this throw by Jackie Bradley Jr. which may help out his case.

 

What to do with Jackie Bradley Jr.

jbjAfter finishing the 2014 season hitting below the Mendoza Line, it appears as though Jackie Bradley Jr. will not be starting in center field for the Boston Red Sox season.

Yes, he is the best defensive center fielder in the game and yes, he finished the year hitting .198 and yes, this was his second shot to prove his worth.
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Still though, his 2.0 WAR on defense, committing just one error in 125 games with a position-leading 13 outfield assists while turning eight double plays, makes it hard to give up on him—yet.

Turning 25 years old next year, the lifetime .196 hitting in 479 big league at-bats has made his tragic flaw clear—he struggles against big league pitching.

Regardless, Bradley is an above-average base runner with good instincts in the base paths meaning he could definitely steal double digit bases in a year. Not only this, but he has the makeup of a solid pinch-runner.
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His defense could make the difference late in the game when Boston has a small lead, making him the ideal defensive replacement. Able to cover a great deal of range while owning a cannon of an arm, he has the versatility to play all three outfield spots, making him an even more appealing option.

If he does indeed need to start, he needs to bat ninth. Hitting a career .218/.288/.331 as a number nine hitter in over 300 at-bats, Bradley has made it clear this is where he is most comfortable hitting. Not to mention he would have to hit less in this slot as well.
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In a game were versatility plays dividends, perhaps Bradley could serve a valuable role as a bench player. He has the makeup of a defensive replacement as well as a pinch runner, making him an appealing option to any team.

A big bonus would be if he could get his bat to come around. He was hitting about .230 before he hit a major slump. If he could consistently hit .230 and play flawless defense, there is no doubt he could start at the big league level.

Jackie Bradley Jr. Keeping Positive Amid Demotion

jbj jackie bradley jrThe Boston Red Sox starting center fielder for the majority of this season, Jackie Bradley Jr. was recently sent down to AAA Pawtucket.

Bradley, 24, struggled a bit at the top level offensively, hitting .216/.288/.290 with a .578 OPS in 112 games.

Defensively, Bradley is another story. He has yet to make an error and leads all MLB center fielders in assists with 13.
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When Bradley was sent down to AAA Pawtucket, he was not mad and brought a positive attitude to the experience.

“I just came down here ready to work,” said Bradley.

So far, for the Paw Sox, Bradley is hitting .212/.246/.273 in 14 games with the club, but is flawless once again in the field; not making an error in 126.2 innings of defense while recording an assist.

Despite his flawless defense wherever he goes, Bradley seems indifferent when it comes to being recognized for it.

“I really don’t focus on that too much, I try to focus on helping the team and winning. It’d be cool if I did, but if not, I’m not really worried about it…,” is what Bradley told this reporter when asked about the possibility of winning a Gold Glove Award or a Fielding Bible.
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There is no doubt that Jackie Bradley Jr. is the best defensive center fielder in the game, posting a 2.1 WAR in the field, but there is so much favoritism that goes into the Gold Glove Award that he may, unfairly, get gypped.

Although there are no immediate plans to call Bradley up, he will be back in Boston soon enough. The Paw Sox clinched a playoff spot and are in the hunt for the Governor’s Cup, meaning that the parent club will let most of the guys play out the playoffs before calling them up as the big league season is a lost cause at this point anyways.
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Jackie Bradley Jr. is set to work and get better day-by-day now, but he is taking things one step at a time. As for his goals this season, Bradley, who will be in contention to start in center field for the Boston Red Sox next season, has just one—”Stay healthy the rest of the way, that’s always key.”